Chuck’s Corner by Chuck Livingston
2015 was a truly magical year for Crittenden County football. Three of the four public schools made the playoffs as Earle clinched its second straight league title and Marion and West Memphis clinched the No. 3 seed from the 6A-East and 7A-East, respectively. As with any other season, we’re handing out some awards this week. Today, I’m releasing my 2015 All-County Offensive Team and on Thursday I’ll be naming the defenders. Quarterback: Tyler Holmes, Marion High School. Runner-up: Gerry Bohanon, Earle High School. This was an extremely difficult decision. Like, kept me up one night when I started looking at this. I made the final decision because Holmes was able to make all 12 starts for the Pats, cut way back on his turnovers and led Marion to its best record since 2011, including a playoff win at Lake Hamilton. Bohanon had yet another good year, following his 2014 nomination as the All-County passer, but two things ultimately gave Holmes the top spot. 1.) Bohanon was slowed by an ankle injury all year, missing three starts and was limited when he did play. 2.) Bohanon’s Bulldogs were so far above their competition in the 2A-3 that he would rarely play in the second half of games and that held his stats back. Look, this was really picking nits, as each passer was more deserving, but Holmes was just slightly better. Running backs: Martavis Thomas, West Memphis Tom Young, Marion Richard Merritt, Earle Honorable mention: Darius Lathon, Marion and Johnathan Craig, West Memphis These guys aren’t ranked in any specific order. They each had huge years for good offenses and should all likely garner some love during the awards season. Merritt capped his prolific career in the maroon-and-white by going for nearly 2,000 yards in 2015, while also handling a full workload on defense. Young missed two games for Marion, but was super effective in the passing game and running game for the Pats. His 85-yard screen play against Jonesboro garnered national attention and caused me to yelp out loud when he crossed the goal line. Awesome play by an awesome player. Thomas became the Blue Devils’ top offensive weapon but was also slowed by injuries in 2015. He displayed some great vision and will likely be better in 2016. Wide Receivers: Collin Chambers, Marion. Marcus Brown, Earle Marquise Brown, Earle Caleb Thompson, Marion Honorable mentions: Jamerun Dudley, West Memphis. Landon Wilson, Marion. In just two years time, our county has gone from run-heavy schemes across the board to hosting two prolific passing offenses. The Brothers Brown were borderline unfair during their senior years in Earle. They were nearly as fast on the football field as they were on the basketball floor, and believe me when I say that they were pretty quick on the hardwood. In addition to their duties at receiver, Marcus and Marquise also returned kicks for the Bulldogs, as well as handling rushes in special packages. They were just a pair of nightmare matchups for nearly any defense. Chambers and Thompson represented two different philosophies in the passing game for Marion. Thompson was Holmes’ favorite target on third-and-fourth downs, mainly because he was the Pats’ most reliable set of hands throughout the season. Chambers started to figure everything out late in the year and had nice games against Jonesboro and Greenwood, as well as making arguably the key play in Marion’s playoff win against Lake Hamilton on fourth-and-forever. Offensive linemen: Parker King, West Memphis Grant Bennett, Marion Stephen Wooten, West Memphis Christian Joe Davis, Earle Honorable mention: Fred Williams, Earle. Especially good year for versatile offensive linemen around town. King was a two-year starter for the Blue Devils and was as reliable as they came. He even took over snapping for kicks late in the year and West Memphis didn’t miss a beat. He shapes up as the Blue Devils’ biggest loss on offense entering 2016. Bennett is a no-nonsense guy that lets his play do the talking. That’s probably what you want from an offensive lineman. The senior probably improved more than any other lineman from 2014 to 2015. Wooten was a two-way stud for the Black Knights and may have been that team’s most valuable player on offense as a run blocker. Davis was Earle’s only returner on the offensive line from 2014, and his year was more bad than good. The Bulldogs still struggled along the line at times, but Davis was one of the steadying forces for the 2A-3 co-champions. On Thursday, I’ll announce the 2015 All-County Defensive team.